AN~ You should all go back and check out the first chapter, I've put in a prologue.
BananaCop: Well, that's the only QotD response I've gotten, but you didn't respond to the story at all, so I'm not sure if I should disqualify you or not...
Guest: Well, sort of. THIS is the ending.
Shan: This is the last one, unfortunately. I'm glad you enjoyed it, though!
And that was the end of the Everafter War.
It wasn't that simple, of course.
By the time they'd all finished with their big summit about what to give and what nobody would budge on, Sabrina had agreed to fix the barrier so that people could get out- but only if they didn't want to hurt anyone outside the barrier. And Snow had suggested that they be required to check in once a year, to make sure nothing had changed. Granny suggested another change to the barrier: only those who knew about Everafters would be allowed in, so that it was actually a haven for Everafters, and the thing that had caused problems from the first- humans pushing Everafters out- wouldn't happen again. Because of the train, though, they compromised on that saying that those who were interested in moving to the town wouldn't be allowed entry.
Sabrina stopped paying attention after that. But she knew that peace had been made, eventually. Almost everyone had agreed to it, even those who would need to be punished for their war crimes.
That was almost everyone, it turned out. Very few people hadn't destroyed something or killed someone or hurt them, and in the months that followed, a court was set up which tried them all and set up reparations. Most people were given public service- rebuilding. No one was given the death penalty. Everyone had had enough of killing.
It took them months to catch Mirror, and even he wasn't destroyed. He was given a new body, of sorts, and left to rot in jail for ten years for every crime he'd committed- he wouldn't be let loose, even on parole, for at least two centuries.
The school picked back up, but since the town was trying to make itself as much a part of the real world as possible, it was decided that those over fourteen would go to the district high school two towns over. The elementary and middle school children would stay in Ferryport Landing.
Sabrina's changing of the barrier was the last thing she was able to do with it. After that, the expanded barrier was stuck- she was still aware of it, in the back of her mind, but she couldn't change it, or create a new one. Morgan Le Faye declared her stable- an Everafter with all her powers, and no more big changes to her body other than puberty coming her way.
The rebuilding process was long, and the greenery was the first thing to come back, courtesy of Daphne. Most people lived in the Fort or the Grimm house until their homes were finished. And homes were last. Businesses and such were rebuilt first.
Still, most of Sabrina's friends were housed in under a year, and the study group, which was still going strong even though the high school that several of them attended now was mostly review work, could be housed at more places than just the Grimm house.
It was Christmas Eve the year after before Sabrina went to visit Mirror in his prison.
He was sitting in a corner of the cell, curled up on himself, doing nothing, when she arrived. He didn't notice her until she cleared her throat loudly.
"Hello," he said, giving her a dry laugh. "Come to gloat? You have every right to, you know." He looked around and, with a half-smile, said, "I've traded one prison cell for another, it seems."
Sabrina didn't respond to that, though the words you deserve it were itching in her throat. Instead she asked, "Why'd you do it?"
"Why do you care?" Mirror asked.
"Because you were my first friend in this town," Sabrina said, "Or I thought you were. And because I want to understand."
"Because I was trapped and treated like I wasn't a person," Mirror said angrily, "Because my mother never loved me. Because I had to take my chance while I could. Because I needed to touch the world, not just see it."
Sabrina was silent for a time. She understood. She didn't want to, but she'd come for an explanation, and the one she'd gotten made sense. "Why my family, though?" she exploded finally. "You waited for centuries, couldn't you wait until you had another jerk owner instead of someone who was actually trying to make life better for you?"
Mirror sighed and said, "I don't expect you to understand, Sabrina, but I promise I never wanted to hurt you. I was... desperate."
"Yeah, that's obvious," Sabrina muttered.
"Would an apology help?" Mirror asked.
"Would you mean it?" Sabrina returned.
"Yes," Mirror said.
"Then it helps a little," Sabrina said. "Not enough that I can forgive you, but enough that you won't keep me up at night anymore."
"I am sorry," Mirror said. "Not for everything, but for hurting you."
"I know," Sabrina said softly. "And I'm sorry you felt like you had to, but that doesn't make it okay." She turned to leave.
"Come visit me again?" Mirror asked, and his voice was so pitiful that she nodded, not looking at him.
She hoped he'd notice the wrapped present outside his cell- a stack of word puzzle books and a pack of mechanical pencils.
Halfway home, it started snowing. Not a blizzard, thankfully, but the snow was heavy enough that she landed and walked the rest of the way home, afraid to get lost in the blizzard if she stayed in the sky.
"Where have you been?" Puck asked as she pushed through the front door half an hour later, shivering- she hadn't been dressed for a snowstorm.
"Out for a walk," Sabrina said vaguely. She didn't think Puck would understand if she told him where she'd been.
"Well, you'd better get changed," he said, accepting her answer with an unconvinced look on his face. "We're going to that Christmas service again, and the Old Lady said nice clothes."
"That why you're wearing clean pants?" Sabrina asked, looking her boyfriend up and down. His blue jeans actually fit, were reasonably stain-free, and had no holes in them. His sweatshirt, on the other hand, was a wreck.
"Yup," Puck said, flashing a crooked grin at her.
Sabrina rolled her eyes and headed upstairs to get changed. As she walked away, she heard Granny scolding Puck for his choice in shirts.
She changed into a pair of nice pants and a warm red sweater, pulling a white and green scarf underneath her hair for a final touch.
Downstairs, Puck was wearing a button-down shirt under a different dirty hoodie, with a tie wrapped around his neck- untied. Sabrina rolled her eyes, and would have tied the tie if she'd known how. Instead she just kissed him on the cheek with an affectionate, "Idiot."
"Come on, everyone, it's time to go!" Veronica called from the doorway, slipping her arms through the sleeves of her jacket as she shouted.
They piled out the door, and Sabrina shivered. The wind had picked up, and it was snowing harder than when she'd come in, so her sweater wasn't warm enough. She burrowed her face down into her scarf and looked warily at the walk to the driveway. She did not want to leave the safety of the porch.
"Maybe we should... not go," Red suggested."
"But I want to see everyone!" Daphne complained. "Blue will be there, Red! Come on!"
"I think Red has a point," Henry said, checking his smartphone- a birthday present from his kids- "It looks like it's just going to get worse, and there's no food at Friar Tuck's church."
"Or much heat," Sabrina added, pushing herself up against Puck's chest, her hands tucked into her armpits.
Daphne pouted and said, "But..."
"We might not even get there, sweetie," Veronica said, hugging Daphne around the shoulder. "The roads will be really bad in this weather."
Daphne collapsed with a sigh and said, "Fine."
Everyone filed back through the door. Basil, the last one through, slammed it shut with gusto, shutting out the whistling of the wind with a bang.
"So... what do we do now?" Puck asked. "And does this mean I can get changed?"
"How about we bake?" Granny suggested. There was a chorus of agreement in various degrees of excitement, and she smiled. "I'll make some hot drinks, then, and we'll get started."
Everyone scattered. Sabrina went up to her room and changed into sweatpants- she left the sweater on, though. The house was warmer than outside, but still cold, and the red sweater was warm. When she got back downstairs, the place was transformed. Uncle Jake had put on some Christmas music in the kitchen, Henry was building a fire in the fireplace, the table was loaded with hot drinks and the remains of cookies that had been made in the days before, Veronica was reading Basil, who had to go to bed soon, a story from a big red book with Santa on the cover, and "A Christmas Carol" was playing on the TV. It was insane Christmas-y in the downstairs of the Grimm house, full of the smells of the season as well as the sights and sounds.
Sabrina joined Granny in the kitchen, where Daphne and Briar, who was looking quite pregnant, with a baby due very very soon, were already helping her bake something or other.
She helped make cookies too, for a while, and then when the kitchen got too crowded with Veronica's entrance after Basil was asleep, she joined Bella and Red at the TV, watching Rudolph with a mug of something that tasted of cinnamon and peppermint. They stayed up late watching Christmas movies and eating fresh hot cookies of all different sorts, joined by other family members one by one, in a living room lit by lights on the tree and the fireplace, and Sabrina was content. Her adventures were over. She wasn't the same person she'd been, but she was happy with who she was now, for the most part. Life was good.
She must have fallen asleep on the couch, because the next thought she had was 'why is she screaming?' as she jolted upright.
'She,' was Briar, shrieking loudly in the dark living room, intense shadows on her face, and other shadowy figures bustling around. Bella was directing people in a firm, no-nonsense voice, and then the lights flickered on. Sabrina looked at Puck and Daphne, both leaning on her, and shoved them off herself to stand, still rubbing the sleep out of her eyes.
Puck woke up when he crashed against Daphne, his girlfriend gone. Daphne kept snoring away. "What's going on?" he asked, as confused as Sabrina.
"Briar's in labor!" Jake wailed, sounding hysterical.
"What do I do?" Sabrina asked, directing her question at Bella and not Jake.
"Nothing!" Bella said, "Take Jake and get him someplace he can calm down!"
Sabrina complied, leading her struggling uncle out of the living room and into the kitchen with Puck's help. The kitchen wasn't the best place, though, because in there Granny and Henry were filling up pots of water and gathering rags and scissors. Sabrina and Puck took Uncle Jake onto the porch.
It was still snowing hard, and the drifted snow was now over the edge of the porch , so that she couldn't tell where the porch-snow started and the ground-snow stopped in some spots. The rest of the snow looked about a foot deep, from what she could see of it. Her vision was obscured about twenty feet away by the snow.
Her study of the landscape was interrupted by a 'whump' that she could hear over the howling wind, and she turned to see Puck, arms outstretched, starting to laugh over Uncle Jake, who had fallen in the snow- pushed.
Sabrina gave him a disapproving look, and he asked, "What? I was trying to get him to calm down and stop being hysterical! And I think it worked!"
Uncle Jake picked himself up from the snow, and, brushing it off his front, said dryly, "Next time, let me stay hysterical, okay?"
"Sorry," Puck said with a shrug, not sounding sorry at all.
They waited out there in the cold and the blowing snow, huddling on the side of the wraparound porch that was away from the wind, where the snow was only two inches deep in some places, until Red came around, shivering in her nightgown and fuzzy slippers, to tell them, "She's done."
Uncle Jake was off like a shot, scrambling for the door with his arms and legs going in every direction. Sabrina, Puck, and Red followed more slowly.
"Congratulations, Red," Sabrina said, giving the smaller girl a smile. "You're a big sister."
"Thanks," Red said shyly. "I'm scared."
"How come?" Sabrina asked.
"I'm worried I'm not going to be a good big sister," Red whispered. "And I know I won't be as good as you."
Touched, Sabrina gave Red a one-armed hug as they walked and said, "You'll do great, Red. I know it."
"Thanks," Red said with a quiet smile.
Inside, they walked in on the end of a baby-name discussion. "How about 'Noel'?" Briar was saying. "Since she was born on Christmas?"
"I like it," Jake agreed, hugging his wife and smiling down at their baby girl.
Red came over and hugged them all, and Jake wrapped his free arm around his adopted daughter. "What do you think of the name, sweetie?" he asked. Red nodded, and he grinned. "Noel it is, then."
There was a moment of silence, and then Daphne, who was awake now, shrieked, "Holy crap it's Christmas! Mom, can I go wake Basil up and we'll open presents? Please please please?"
Henry and Veronica shared a look, and then Veronica nodded and said, "Go ahead, Daphne."
With a gleeful yell, Daphne went running up the stairs. Sabrina, watching her, noticed as her sister passed the clock, that it was only Christmas by about four hours. She didn't say anything, though.
Daphne came down minutes later, a sleepy five-year-old in tow, and there was a mad dash for the presents.
Once Puck had opened his share of the loot, he walked over to take a look at Baby Noel, and said loudly, "Man, babies are ugly."
He'd said the same thing when Peaseblossom had her little boy, Kale, three months ago. Sabrina rolled her eyes and ignored him, but no one else did. Daphne, in particular, ran up to him and smacked him with a book she'd gotten, shouting about how rude that was and wrong and-
Sabrina tuned her sister out as a full-fledged brawl began to develop and parents went in to intervene while Briar backed away, holding Noel protectively. Sabrina recalled what she'd thought earlier, about how her adventures were over. She laughed a little. How wrong she was! But... maybe she was all right with that.
As the wind pelted snow against the still-dark window, Sabrina decided that her life had plenty of adventures to come. She was a fairy tale detective, after all. Grimms would always have things to do. Life would be a mess of chaos. And, somehow, after everything she'd been through, that was exactly the way she wanted it.
"Merry Christmas, everyone," she said quietly, and she smiled.
Well, that's the end, everyone! I hope you've enjoyed the journey, I know I have.
Now I want to embark on this super duper huge task of thanking everyone, because at the end of this we have:
7 Community adds
and 2258 Reviews!
I don't know how to make this up to any of you, and I'm not going to list everyone who reviewed because that's just insane, but I just want to say THANK YOU ALL. So much. You've been through a lot of my life with me, and I've made so many friends through this story. So... Thank you.
See you in other stories!